P&Z signs off on Vanderbilt's rezone

If you blinked, you may have missed Tuesday's City Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. In only about 45 minutes, commissioners approved four items of new business and directed planning staff on a fifth issue.

Commissioners declined full presentations by planning staff on every topic, and they quickly approved a time extension on a conditional use permit for Howard Pennington and Praise Chapel International.

The permit, issued last year, would allow a church building on property along the east side of Railroad Street, south of Southern Avenue and west of Harrison Street. CUPs are good for one year from the date of issue, and property owners may apply for a one-year extension if they fail to complete substantial construction in that time. Commissioners unanimously approved the extension, with Commissioner Mike Schoeff excused from the meeting.

Requests from Vanderbilt Farms LLC for rezoning of about 171 acres and for approval of a preliminary subdivision plat passed unanimously as well.

The property is located in the Kingman Crossing area, north of Interstate 40, east of Sage Street, west of Wagon Wheel and south of Airway.

Jerry Willis, project manager for Vanderbilt Farms, was on hand to acknowledge planning staff's conditions for approval of both requests, and he stated that his company was willing to comply with all requirements. Commissioner Mike Blair complimented Willis and Mohave Engineering Associates, the applicant for both requests, on the comprehensive nature of the plans submitted to the city.

Richard Campana, an attorney and developer involved with the Castle Rock Village subdivision in the Kingman Crossing area, attended the meeting to voice his support for the Vanderbilt project, which will include retail shops and restaurants. Campana does not represent Vanderbilt Farms or Vestar Development Co.

"As an attorney ... I can tell you this ought to be a slam dunk case, because the General Plan calls for this," Campana said. "The reason I came from Scottsdale today for this hearing is because I think Kingman is at a crossroads, and MedCath hospital, Vanderbilt Farms and Vestar are the cream of the crop. This is going to change the complexion of this town."

Commissioners apparently agreed with Campana's statements, and they approved both requests unanimously. Conditions added to the approvals included street dedications, building sign design requirements, landscaping and additional setbacks from a residential area abutting the Vanderbilt land.

Rich Ruggles, principal planner for the city, said there is no definite timeline for the project at this time due to uncertainties surrounding the financing of a future traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing. He said that, without the interchange, traffic levels on the future extension of Santa Rosa Drive would be very high, possibly surpassing Stockton Hill Road. Therefore, another condition attached to the project is the withholding of building permits until commencement of construction of the Kingman Crossing interchange.

Although some time was spent discussing drainage concerns on the property owned by MedCath Inc., ultimately, commissioners unanimously approved the company's preliminary plat as well. MedCath plans to build the Hualapai Mountain Medical Center on about 31 acres in the Kingman Crossing area, directly north of the Vanderbilt land.

Planner Tom Duranceau presented some possible challenges facing the project, including the extension of water and sewer lines and drainage issues, but he said the plans met preliminary plat requirements and will be detailed fully in their final form.

Peter Proffit, representative of MedCath, said the company has been working on the drainage issues for some time and will continue to do so, and he said MedCath agrees to all conditions laid out by planning staff.

Gary Jeppson, director of development services, presented commissioners with a proposed expansion of the C-1 Commercial: Neighborhood Convenience zoning district, as directed by City Council at its last meeting. Jeppson asked commissioners if they had any changes they would like to see in the document, and they agreed that the document appeared sufficient to go forward in its current state. A public hearing on the expanded district is scheduled for the Jan. 8 P&Z meeting.